Fusilli alla Norcia

August 3, 2017
Family Verdict:


500g short pasta such as fusilli

1 small onion

1 tbsp oil

100g good quality pork sausages (about 3)

100ml white wine

250ml double cream

50g freshly grated parmesan

1tsp fennel seed, ground in a pestle

1/2 tsp chilli flakes, ground in a pestle

Slice the onion very finely and cook on a low heat in a frying pan in the oil with a cover on the pan so that it softens but does not colour - about 10-15 mins

Skin the sausages and in a bowl combine with the fennel seed, chilli and some ground black pepper. Mix together well with your hands

nip of small pieces of the sausage meat (think broad bean size) and drop them into the pan with the onion.

Add the wine to the pan, bring to a simmer and simmer, covered for 10 mins

Put the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water and cook until ready (just a bit of bite left)

Add the cream to the sausage mix and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 mins

Drain the pasta when cooked, put into a large, warmed, serving bowl. Toss in the cheese and stir through

Add the sauce, stir well and serve at once


This comes from an unsung gem of a book called "The top 100 pasta sauces" by Diane Seed. The copy I have dates from 1994, and is one of the Late Wife's books. Although over 20 years old the nature of its subject renders it essentially timeless. Although I can't claim to have tried them all, it contains many staple sauces for Pasta as well as some exotica. It also has the benefit of mainly featuring vegetable based sauces and, for some reason, the Offspring seem to accept mainly vegetables when they are part of a pasta sauce.

There is a very striking recipe in this book for spaghetti Marie Grazie, which is courgette based and used to be a summer favourite of the Late Wife and I - I havent cooked it since she died but have just reminded myself to do that. Also an asparagus based dish which really celebrates that summer veg.

This recipe though is one that does feature meat (well sausages anyway) albeit that they are disassembled and reborn as little bon bons of flavour. I have adopted this menu, which I think assumes you have some north italian sausages (apparently Norcia is the town in Umbria where this recipe hails from, and is pig central so that ausage and ham shops in central Italy are termed Norceria)

To convert good quality British sausages I insert a step not in the original recipe to mix some spicing into the sausage meat - fennel and chilli - which in my mind at least evoke their flavours.

The quantities here I doubled to serve the whole family (5) and had some left, but all the Offspring liked it - a result!

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